Training is Not Optional

  • “We don’t have a training department because we are too small.” 
  • “We don’t have a training department because we train each other.” “
  • We don’t have training because it costs too much.”

Recently these old and moldy excuses for not having a training function are being dragged out again like outdated clothes that will somehow be fashionable again.  Yet, the truth is that no matter what size company you work for, we all have one thing in common.  We hire and employ people.  Yep, good old human beings that need to learn the job they have been hired to do.

Small companies may not have a need for a fully staffed training department, but even if you only have 10 employees you have skill development needs.  Knowing how best to train your employees, and keep them current requires partnering with people who can direct you to programs that fit your requirements.  You don’t have to have a full-time employee, but you can contract with people throughout the year to keep learning current and your people engaged.

Training each other on the job goes on in every organization.  However, even though it is a very valid training tool, it comes with the responsibility to monitor consistent messages.  Testing skills, certifications, checklists and other verification tools become a way to monitor on the job efforts.  Yet, can you leave management development to on the job?  Can you trust that your on the job sales training is providing everyone with the same attention to your sales process?

I will admit that training costs money.  If done incorrectly it can often costs a lot of money with no return for the dollars.  Yet when it is done correctly, training can return not only the investment, but increased sales and productivity and reduced expenses because of a lack of waste.  Take a bank of 10,000 employees and a bank with 10 employees.  The cost of training will be significantly different because of the amount of staff.  Many budgets are planned simply on a dollar amount per employee.  Yet here is the kicker.  The total skills needed for each bank are the same.  Both banks follow the same rules and offer basically the same products, so both need to know how to do the same chores and tasks.

Someone once said that “what happens if we train them and they leave?”  To which the reply was, “what if we don’t train them and they stay?”  Training is not optional, and we need to stop making excuses for avoiding it and find reasons to do more of it.



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